Does anyone else struggle with making popcorn at home? I just can’t ever get it right. Microwave popcorn is so boring, and air popped corn is so bland. This has made me not a huge at-home popcorn maker. Probably a reason why I really look forward to going out to the movies. We might go to see one movie a year in an actual theater, so it’s a big treat to get a bucket of salty, butter-soaked movie popcorn. And no, I’m not sharing. This Perfect Movie Popcorn is about the closest you can come to that movie theater taste.
I won’t take any credit for it. A good friend made it for us one night on his stovetop and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it after that. The aroma, the perfect balance of butter and salt (not too much of either), it was all suddenly so addictive! He says the secret is peanut oil. Peanut oil isn’t one that I typically cook with, but man is it delicious. And somehow, even with the oil and salt, this Perfect Movie Popcorn still tastes super light.
The trick to this Perfect Movie Popcorn is the timing. It’s a very fickle technique, one that you can easily mess up the first few times, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll seriously never buy microwave popcorn again. You really have to stand there an listen to the pops, and once they slow down to 2-3 per second, yank it off the heat. If you wait longer, it will burn. You may think that you can let it go a few seconds longer after it starts to slow, and you’d be wrong. I promise, it will burn. It takes a few tries but it’s so worth it.
The whole process will take about 5 minutes and you’ll end up with a huge bucket of delicious homemade popcorn that is far and away better than anything that comes in a bag. Perfect Movie Popcorn is a regular part of our family movie and game nights and I hope it will become part of yours too. Enjoy!
- 1 1/2 cups popcorn kernels
- 3/4 cups peanut oil
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Place one or two popcorn kernels into the pot. Once they pop, add the rest of the popcorn plus the butter and salt. Gently shake the pot to coat the kernels. Loosely tent the pot with a sheet of aluminum foil and punch a few holes in the foil.
Allow the popcorn to pop, keeping the pot tented with foil, gently shaking the pot back and forth on the burner. Once the popping slows to 2-3 pops per second, remove the pot from the heat and uncover. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl.